Policy Exchange and the Queen’s Speech

The Queen’s Speech, which set out the Government’s agenda for the new parliamentary session, reflected many of Policy Exchange’s research priorities. In economics, the Government’s commitment to increased capital investment reflects recommendations outlined in our report, Why the Government should spend more on capital. On housing, the Government’s planning reforms adopt the Building Beautiful agenda, which began at Policy Exchange, the recommendation for zonal planning permission being proposed in Rethinking the Planning System for the 21st Century. The support for new owners and renters reflects recommendations in Helping Generation Rent Become Generation Buy.

The speech covered central policy recommendations of the Judicial Power Project including legislation to deal with legacy issues from the Troubles in Northern Ireland and a Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill to end the fixed five-year period between general elections. Policy Exchange’s A Very British Tilt presaged the UK’s Integrated Review and argued that trade is central to the Indo-Pacific “tilt”, which was mentioned in the speech with a commitment by the Government to “deepen trade ties in the Gulf, Africa and the Indo-Pacific”. And finally, the importance of Academic Freedom and in particular, freedom of speech on university campuses will be addressed with legislation and the creation of a free speech champion, a policy priority we highlighted in our report Academic freedom in the UK .

Policy Exchange hosts India’s Minister of External Affairs and UK Foreign Secretary

Policy Exchange hosted Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs of India, for a keynote address on India and the United Kingdom in a Post-Covid World. “The Integrated Review locates UK as a Euro-Atlantic actor with an increasing stake in the Indo-Pacific,” said Dr Jaishankar, adding: “This obviously makes it much more relevant to Indian strategic calculations.”

He noted that the recommendations of Policy Exchange’s Indo-Pacific Commission were “very timely” and, on UK-India relations, said: “Our partnership was even otherwise getting ready for an upgrade; the new context has given it a greater urgency.”

In the Vote of Thanks, Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP, Foreign Secretary, said: “I can’t think of a better and technologically endowed high trust partner than India. So this relationship matters.” Watch the event in full here.

Policy Exchange hosts the launch of The Dignity of Labour with Jon Cruddas MP

Does work give our lives purpose, meaning and status? Or is it a tedious necessity that will soon be abolished by automation, leaving humans free to enjoy a life of leisure and basic income? Policy Exchange hosted Jon Cruddas MP for the launch of his book The Dignity of Labour and a discussion on these questions with Lisa Nandy MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary, and Rt Hon Jesse Norman MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Chaired by Stephen Bush, Political Editor of the New Statesman. “There’s huge amounts of debate about the leaders of the respective parties… but absolutely nowhere, except at Policy Exchange today, is anyone actually digging beneath the surface,” said Lisa Nandy, adding that Jon Cruddas’s book was “the most important contribution to the political debate in the last decade”.  Watch the event in full

Ed Birkett, Senior Fellow, appears in front of the Transport Select Commitee

Ed Birkett, Senior Fellow in the Energy and Environment Unit at Policy Exchange, this week gave evidence to the House of Commons Transport Select Commitee for its inquiry into ‘Zero Emission Vehicles and road pricing’.  During the discussion, Ed covered the barriers and policy options to deliver the Government’s target to phase out new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030. Committee members asked questions about the recommendations in Policy Exchange’s recent report, Charging Up, which recommended new policies to deliver a comprehensive network of chargepoints for electric vehicles. Watch a recording of his appearance here.

Education Secretary cites Policy Exchange school behaviour research

Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP, Education Secretary, cited Policy Exchange’s study on poor pupil behaviour in a speech to the Confederation of School Trusts.

He said: “The report, ‘It Just Grinds You Down’, by Policy Exchange, found that 75% of teachers think that low level disruption occurs frequently or very frequently in their schools and that 72% of them know a colleague who has left the teaching profession because of bad behaviour.”

Building on this survey of teachers and pupils, the Education Secretary went on to announce a national Behaviour Survey to give a regular snapshot of the state of behaviour in schools.

Policy Exchange hosts Dr Tony Sewell for discussion on race and ethnic disparities

In his first public event since publication of the report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, Dr Tony Sewell CBE, Commission chair, explained the thinking and evidence behind the report and discussed its main recommendations.

The report, published at the end of March, caused controversy both by stressing ethnic minority success and challenging the conventional wisdom about ethnic group differences being mainly shaped by majority racism. Sewell debated the report, and the often extreme reaction to it, with some of the leading commentators on race and society.

“The report acknowledges that over 50 years things have significantly improved. Second that race is not the only factor in explaining racial disparities and third that some of the best strategies for change is when we find answers for everybody,” he said.

Integrated Review accepts Policy Exchange’s proposals on Indo-Pacific strategy, space and Net Assessment

The Government’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy (IR), published this week, reflects a broad range of Policy Exchange’s recent research output. Notably, it argues for a “tilt” to the Indo-Pacific, perhaps the most conspicuous grand-strategic decision taken by the British Government in decades, reflecting the framework recommended by Policy Exchange’s Indo-Pacific Commission in A Very British Tilt: Towards a new UK strategy in the Indo-Pacific. The IR – whose lead author, No 10 Special Adviser John Bew, headed Policy Exchange’s Britain in the World Unit until 2019 – also recommends the shaping of a new international order, as argued for in Making Global Britain Work; putting the space domain at the core of the Government’s strategic vision for this country, as recommended by the work of Policy Exchange’s Space Policy Unit; and the adoption of Net Assessment as a cross-government capability, as recommended by A Question of Power: Towards Better UK Strategy Through Net Assessment. Read Alexander Downer, Policy Exchange’s Chairman of Trustees, on the IR in ConservativeHome, listen to him on Times Radio; and read Gabriel Elefteriu, Director of Research and Head of the Space Policy Unit in The Spectator’s Coffee House.

Read Policy Exchange’s Reflections on the Integrated Review here

Budget 2021: Policy Exchange's Analysis

In advance of the Budget, Policy Exchange published What is to be done with the British Economy?, an overview of the key principles that should inform the UK’s future economic policy by Warwick Lightfoot, Head of Economics and former Special Adviser to three Chancellors. It calls for a realistic appraisal of the principal tools of macro-economic management and simplification of the tax system. Read his op-ed for ConservativeHome.

On Wednesday afternoon, Gerard Lyons, Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange and former Chief Economic Adviser to Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP during his London Mayoralty, argued in the Spectator’s Coffee House that the message of the Budget was “the health and economic crisis are now coming to an end”. 

£250,000 Wolfson Economics Prize 2021 seeks hospitals revolution

The Wolfson Economics Prize 2021, launched today in partnership with Policy Exchange, seeks planning and design ideas that will “radically improve” hospital care in the UK and around the world.

The Prize is evidence of a new focus on the long-term improvement in hospital provision in Britain and globally. The UK Government has already announced £3.7 billion of funding towards new hospitals in England for what it calls the “biggest hospital building programme in a generation”.

The judging panel – chaired by Rt Hon Prof Lord Kakkar, Professor of Surgery at University College London, crossbench peer in the House of Lords and Chair of the King’s Fund – will ask entrants for designs and plans for new hospitals that will “radically improve patient experiences, clinical outcomes, staff wellbeing, and integration with wider health and social care”. Entry is free and open to anyone.

History Matters Conference

Policy Exchange welcomed the Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the History Matters Project Conference. In an hour-long conversation with Trevor Phillips OBE, Chair of the History Matters Project, the Culture Secretary encouraged museums and other institutions not to be “pushed around by noisy campaign groups”.

He said his message to museums, galleries and other institutions was: “Just think as institutions about your wider duty to the nation; your wider duty to conserve and preserve our heritage. Don’t allow yourself to be pushed around by the zeitgeist of the day; take a longer-term view of things; make sure you do things in a rigorous way; and understand that your principal duty is to preserve and conserve our heritage.”

He also distinguished between ‘activism’ and ‘debate’ saying his concern “lies in that we avoid the situation where a group of people purport to speak for a larger community and don’t”.

The conference was the first event to bring together leading decision-makers and professionals in the museums and galleries sector and other experts in order to develop new public policy approaches than can be applied broadly.
It included a panel discussion on statues and the public space chaired by Peter Ainsworth, Chair of The Heritage Alliance and another on museums and galleries chaired by Nicholas Coleridge CBE, Chair of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Professor Richard Ekins welcomes Supreme Court Judgement on Shamima Begum

In a blog for Policy Exchange, Professor Richard Ekins, Head of the Judicial Power Project, welcomed the “powerful” Supreme Court judgment that corrects “a misconceived Court of Appeal judgment, which had put national security in doubt and undermined the law Parliament made”  in the Shamima Begum case.

Ekins described the ruling as a “affirmation of constitutional principle and the limits of judicial power”. While noting that the Supreme Court judgement does not stop Begum’s future appeals to SIAC (Special Immigration Appeals Commission) it does critically reject “the attempt to leverage her right to appeal into a right to return to the UK, which would mean a de facto right to remain.”

Read Professor Ekins blog here.

Strong Suburbs

Policy Exchange this week published ‘Strong Suburbs’, a report by Dr Samuel Hughes, Senior Fellow, and Ben Southwood, Head of Housing, Transport, and the Urban Space. The report notes that the Government has moved away from ‘top-down’ plans to encourage development in areas with housing shortages. Instead, it argues that a ‘bottom up’ approach driven by local communities will deliver popular and beautiful housing without the need for imposition.

The main proposal would let individual streets vote to give themselves planning permission allowing them to turn themselves from bungalows or semis into terraces

Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, said: “Policy Exchange has led the debate on empowering communities, winning support for development, and creating beautiful popular homes. The Government supports enabling communities to set their own rules for what developments in their area should look like, ensuring that they reflect and enhance their surroundings and preserve our cherished local heritage, and Policy Exchange is continuing this vital conversation.”

Read the report here and coverage of the report in the The Daily MailThe Telegraph, and The I.

The Future of the Union

It’s “plain common-sense and the responsible thing to do” to reject calls for a Scottish independence referendum during the Covid-19 pandemic. That is the verdict of Lord Dunlop, former Minister for Scotland and Northern Ireland – and author of an unpublished Government review on the workings of the Union – in an article for Policy Exchange.

His piece marked the launch of Policy Exchange’s Future of the Union Project – led by Adam Tomkins MSP and Eddie Barnes, a former adviser to Ruth Davidson – which will examine over the coming months how the Union can better work for all its constituent parts.

Lord Dunlop’s article observed that we are experiencing a “watershed moment” and called for new a Union of Co-operation, with “a re-vamped and enhanced Intergovernmental Council” helping to “manage disputes and facilitate joint decision-making”. Read the paper here – and coverage in The Sun here.

Eddie Barnes has written a blog for Policy Exchange on what Unionists can learn from remainers’ errors during the EU referendum. He argues that those that are committed to protecting the Union must also commit to ‘the need for real and lasting reform’ and not ‘phoney change’. Read his blog here.

What the vaccine rollout means for NHS accountability

‘The vaccine rollout may show us a model for how a new approach to health service accountability, underpinned by new levers in legislation, will provide stronger political oversight whilst maintaining day to day NHS operational independence in the future,’ writes Richard Sloggett, Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange on Health and Social Care, in a new blog post. Read ithere

In his column for The Daily Mail, Dominic Lawson mentioned the work of the Policy Exchange Health Unit and its recent article published on how the UK’s genomics advances, supported by the Government over the last decade, had helped its pandemic response. Read the column here and the Policy Exchange paper here.

Government Commission on future of the Civil Service

Policy Exchange is delighted to announce a Reform of Government Commission, Chaired by Dame Patricia Hodgson, which will examine how the Civil Service can be improved and modernised. Dame Patricia’s overview of the Commission’s work, which argues that “the unprecedented challenges which the UK faces require a fundamental assessment of how best the machinery of government can be envisioned and equipped for the new world,” can be read here

The Reform of Government Commission will go back to first principles and ask: what sort of Civil Service do we want? What should its ethos be? How should accountability be maximised through clearer lines of responsibility? How can it better serve governments of all hues?

We will draw on the expertise of a wide range of leading practitioners. Focus groups, polling and an evidence-gathering “roadshow” will be used to produce authoritative, useful research that leads to better government.

Read more, including a list of all the commissioners involved, here.

 

Scott Morrison wins inaugural Grotius Prize

Policy Exchange was delighted to award the inaugural Grotius Prize –named after the founding father of international law, Hugo Grotius — to Hon Scott Morrison MP, the Prime Minister of Australia. This was in recognition of his work in support of the international rules-based order. The event was streamed live from London and Canberra.

A keynote speech from the Australian Prime Minister was followed by remarks from Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, with a Vote of Thanks by Hon Alexander Downer AC,  Chairman of Trustees at Policy Exchange and former Foreign Minister of Australia.

The Australian Prime Minister welcomed the “timely publication by Policy Exchange’s Indo-Pacific Commission, A Very British Tilt: Towards a new UK strategy in the Indo-Pacific Region”. On this Commission’s core proposal for Britain to increase the priority accorded, toward the Indo-Pacific, Scott Morrison remarked: “I couldn’t agree more and have conveyed the same to Boris. I endorse the report’s vision for a reinvigorated community of free and independent nations with a single overriding goal. Namely, reinforce a sustainable rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific that is resilient but adaptable to the great power realities of the 21st century.”

Watch the event here and read our report here.

Policy Exchange is ‘pre-eminent think tank in Westminster,’ says Iain Dale

“If anyone was to draw up a list of the top twenty most influential think tanks in Westminster, can anyone seriously doubt that Policy Exchange would be at number one?” That’s the verdict of Iain Dale in the LBC presenter’s latest column for Conservative Home. He calls Policy Exchange “the pre-eminent think tank in the Westminster village” and notes our unique convening power, saying: “There are few organisations that could attract power players like Mark Carney and Alan Greenspan, or Dominic Raab and Mike Pompeo to appear on its platforms.”

Policy Exchange hosts Prime Minister for the launch of the authorised biography of Margaret Thatcher

Dean Godson, Director of Policy Exchange, was delighted to welcome the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, to the official launch of the final volume of Charles Moore’s authorised biography of Margaret Thatcher, Herself Alone.

The event, hosted by Policy Exchange, was the Prime Minister’s first visit to a think tank since he took office. It was attended by some of the surviving dramatis personae from the Thatcher era and other senior figures from the world of politics, journalism and public life.

The Prime Minister praised the biography, saying, it is “not just the greatest recent work of biography but… also, in our lifetimes, the greatest work of modern British history”. Charles Moore, the author of the 20-year project, is a Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange and was previously Chairman of the Trustees. Watch the video of the speeches on YouTube

Rt Hon Michael Gove MP

Manifesto wins

Policy Exchange was delighted that the party election manifestos reflected the priorities of our cross-party research since the last general election (and even earlier). Ideas from at least 24 papers were contained in the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green 2019 manifestos – from social care to education, farming to judicial power. Explore the infographic showing which ideas were adopted by the different parties here.

Charging Up

and

The UK’s commitment to phase out new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030 was at the heart of the Prime Minister’s recent ‘Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’.  This commitment reflects both sharp reductions in the cost of electric vehicles (EVs) and the urgent need to clean up the transport sector, which is now the UK’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

A “Washington Strategy” for British Diplomacy

The UK’s Washington embassy – the flagship for its global diplomatic operation – needs a shake-up to secure British influence with the Biden administration and a Democrat-controlled Congress. A ‘Washington strategy’ for British diplomacy, authored by the journalist and think-tanker Ben Judah, urges the Government to “recognise the need for radical diplomatic change in a post-Brexit and post-Trump world”.

Closing the COVID 19 data gap

and

We are now into the eighth week of the national vaccine rollout. The programme has in many ways already been hugely successful with 6.5 million people, more than one in ten adults in the UK, receiving their first dose, at a rate that is unmatched in Europe. The Government, NHS England and the devolved administrations have continued to ramp up deployment and are on course to meet an ambitious target of offering the first dose of the vaccine to cohorts 1-4 by mid-February. However, a lack of sufficient detail and transparency over data collection will hinder the ability to monitor successes or failures beyond these headlines. This short paper identifies a number of areas where further action should be taken, including a redoubling of efforts to vaccinate harder-to-reach groups such as the most disadvantaged and ethnic minorities.

Parliament won’t allow China to bully MPs into silence

Does the Chinese Communist Party understand how our parliamentary democracy works? The evidence of the last 24 hours suggests not. With some of my Conservative colleagues in the House of Commons – Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Tim Loughton, Tom Tugendhat and Neil O’Brien – as well as two peers, a QC and an academic, I have been banned from entering China, had property frozen (not that I have any there) and have had Chinese citizens and institutions prohibited from doing business with me. All because I have voiced well-evidenced concerns about the persecution of the Uyghur Muslim minority by the Chinese government.

Wanted: Two Ministers for the Union

Last week my review for the Prime Minister of UK Government Union Capability was finally published alongside an impressive package of still to be signed off reforms to the way relations with the devolved administrations are managed. 

Government action on my recommendations is more important than if or when the report was published.  And I welcome wholeheartedly the way the Government is already implementing new policies in line with those recommendations.

The Integrated Review – Policy Exchange’s Reflections

The Government’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy is the most important British strategy document since end of Cold War. Its significance comes not only from its unprecedented scope across policy areas; perhaps even more important is the strategic conception, the intellectual armature around which it is designed. At its heart is the idea of strategic competition understood in its genuine geostrategic-military sense rather than as a simplistic sporting-race analogy.

Matt Hancock sets out vision for public health

Policy Exchange was delighted to welcome Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP,  Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for a major speech on the future of public health on 18th August.

The Health Secretary, who gave the first speech by a Cabinet minister after the election at Policy Exchange in December, outlined plans for the establishment of a new body – the National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP). T

BBC consultation launched in Policy Exchange speech

The Government is launching an eight-week consultation on decriminalising BBC licence fee evasion, said the Rt Hon Baroness Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in a speech at Policy Exchange on the Future of Media and Broadcasting. Watch her speech here.

DARPA and the American Approach

Policy Exchange’s Visiting Scholar, Dr William Schneider Jr, delivered a keynote speech on “Delivering National Scientific & Technological Advantage: DARPA and the American Approach”. As a former Chairman of the US Defense Science Board, Dr Schneider is a leading authority on strategic innovation and tech R&D. His wide-ranging speech addressed issues including the evolution of national defence technologies, space security and how to help create high-tech innovation. You can watch a video of the event here and read his paper here.

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  • Thursday, 7 June, 2018
    9:00 - 11:00

In his only public appearance on his UK visit, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was interviewed by William Shawcross at Policy Exchange. Deeming the Iran nuclear deal ‘defunct’, the Prime Minister said that a realignment was taking place in the Middle East, with relations improving between Israel and Sunni nations. He also had words of praise for Presidents Trump and Obama.

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